Our Favorite 17th Century Mansions Along Amsterdam’s Canals
Step back in time for an architectural tour of Amsterdam’s most decadent homes. Lofty mottos, luxurious reception rooms, and rare side houses characterize these canal quarters. On your next visit to Amsterdam, be sure to check out Traterra’s favorites:
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 57
Once a merchant house, then a church-owned home for the poor, later a cigar factory, and finally the home of artists Cephas Stauthamer and Diana Smith, this 1615 building reflects the Baroque Amsterdam Renaissance style with brown brick facade, portrait heads, and pilasters. The dwelling is now protected by Vereniging Hendrick de Keyser, a nonprofit organization dedicated to identifying, restoring, and preserving historically significant examples of Amsterdam’s architecture.
Nicknamed “the house with the bright colors” for its cheerfulness, the Bartolotti House was built circa 1617 for merchant Willem van den Heuvel, who later changed his name to Guillelmo Bartolotti. Cartouches on the exterior read “Ingenio et assiduo labore, Religione et probitate,” representing the virtues of the 17th century merchant. The Bartolotti House follows the curve of the canal and includes a rare side house. The ornately decorated exterior balances the formality of the mahogany and white marble interior. Don’t forget to check out the Van Logteren statues in the garden on your way out.
Famously known as the “House with the Heads,” this 1622 building is adorned with the faces of six gods and accompanying symbolic props: Apollo, Ceres, Mercury, Minerva, Bacchus, and Diana. The House with the Heads is one of the Top 100 Dutch National Monuments and one of three remaining examples of 17th century architecture with a side house (along with the Bartolotti House and the Dolphijn). The property was originally built for art enthusiast Nicolas Sohier and occupies a double-wide lot with additional land purchased for an extra deep garden.
This 1662 edifice is actually two homes symmetrically built under one roof for brothers Hendrick and Louys Trip, and features exquisite ceiling paintings of birds and Scandinavian scenes. The Trip brothers were advocates for peace, which is represented in the olive branches, palm leaves, and inscribed motto “Ex Bello Pax” on the exterior of their home. For a time, the Trip House was home to Rembrandt’s Nightwatch and other pieces of the Rijksmuseum’s collection (Click here to read more about the art scene in Amsterdam). Paintings by Allard van Everdingen decorate the corridors and doorways of the mansion.